Gift card with gold bow in a box © iStock

Gift cards are getting cheaper to buy and they offer more protections. That’s the conclusion drawn from Bankrate’s 2015 Gift Card Survey, which found a decline in the number of cards that charge purchase fees and an increase in the number of cards that offer loss and theft protection.

Using data we collected Sept. 14-21, 2015, we looked at the terms and features of 60 different gift cards, including general purpose cards, store-branded retail cards, restaurant cards, airline cards and gas station cards.

Using the chart below, you can compare these cards to find the one that suits your needs based on factors such as the amount you can load onto the card or whether it can be purchased on and downloaded to a smartphone. This way, everyone comes out a winner this season.

Select card features:
  • No purchase fees
  • PIN available
  • Loss/theft protection
  • Reloadable
  • Mobile/e-card
  • Online balance check
  • Free shipping
  • BP

    • Purchase fee: $0.50 for the $10, $15, $20 cards.
    • Processing fee: up to 3.95% for any order.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available. BP, at its discretion, may replace the remaining balance on lost or stolen cards if purchase verification is available and the remaining balance can be verified.
    • Gift card is only reloadable at gas stations.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Shipping fee: $2.95 (USPS); $6.95 (FedEx: ground) ; $10.95 (3-day express); $14.95 (2-day air); $21.95 (next-day air).
    • Loading limits: $25- $100 (in-store); $5-$100 (online or by phone). $5 gift cards are only available in packs of 10.
  • Chevron/Texaco

    • Purchase fee: $0.50 for the $10, $15, $20 cards.
    • Processing fee: Up to 3.95% for any order.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available. Chevron/Texaco, at its discretion, may replace the remaining balance on lost or stolen cards if purchase verification is available and the remaining balance can be verified.
    • Gift card is only reloadable at gas stations.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Shipping fee: $2.95 (USPS); $6.95 (FedEx ground); $10.95 (3-day express); $14.95 (2-day air); $21.95 (next-day air).
    • Loading limits: $25-$100 (in-store); $5-$100 (online or by phone, not available for purchase in all stores). $5 gift card must be purchased in a pack of 10.
  • Citgo

    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection is not available.
    • Can only be purchased in-store.
    • Not available in mobile/e-card.
    • Loading limits: $5-$300.
  • Exxon Mobil

    • Purchase fee: 3.95% of the gift card value.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available.
    • Gift card is reloadable.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Not available in mobile/e-card.
    • Shipping fee: $2.95 per order (first-class mail for orders valued at $150 or less). Orders valued at greater than $150 will ship FedEx, and a signature will be required for receipt: $8.95 (FedEx ground); $10.95 (3-day express); $14.95 (2-day air); $21.95 (next-day air).
    • Loading limits: $25-$100.0
  • Shell

    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN not available.
    • Website says: “Except in certain circumstances, card will not be replaced or replenished if lost or stolen.”
    • Gift card is reloadable.
    • Not available in mobile/e-card.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Loading limits: $10-$300.

Sorry, we could not locate any cards that match all your requirements. Try unselecting some of the features above to widen your search.

Source: Bankrate.com

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